Why Can’t I Use Adobe Photoshop? No Worries, There’s A Lot of Alternatives

Wed, Sep 19, 2012

Software, Technology

Adobe Photoshop CS 6

Adobe CS6 Image Credit goes to Slash Gear, where they have also written a great blog post about Photoshop CS6 and Creative Cloud

Photoshop has been part of life

Adobe Photoshop’s popularity has made Photoshop not only a proper noun, but also as a verb where everyone says it even on TV even if they are not promoting the product. For instance, when people say: “Her head looks like it was photoshopped on that hot sexy body.”That alone already shows how the strong the brand is, how popular the software and the reason they get there was they really have an excellent product, was one of the first to market, and has been good in marketing and promoting the product as well where new computer printers often had a “dumb-down” version of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements that had simple templates for common fun stuff to print and this engages users of their product to become aware of Photoshop if ever they do want something more powerful than Photoshop Elements.

Below is a sample video of someone “photoshopping” someone’s head on a sexy body. And there are a million ways to skin a cat, so you may find other videos online that does this in a different Photoshop technique.

Photoshop is not free and is not cheap either

Adobe Photoshop is a commercial software and you need a license to run it. If you legally purchased a copy of Adobe Photoshop, then you have these license keys that the software prompts you to enter during installation. The software for the latest Adobe Photoshop would range from $450 to more than $600+ for the extended version. And if you are a student or a teacher, the education version would be about half the price. If you have Photoshop installed on your computer and you did not buy it, chances are they are unlicensed by either using a license code that is not yours that was obtained from others, or was generated by some keygen, (key generator) that somehow cracked the algorithm in making compliant license keys that the software accepts or you are running a cracked copy, meaning the files were modified to run even if no license key was entered. Aside from legal implications since software piracy is really a crime, cracked copies and running some keygens are often infected with spyware, malware, trojans and whatever variants or similar to computer viruses that may be harmful to your computer’s performance, or worst, it might even be a security issue where private information is stolen from your computer.

Your company may not always buy you Photoshop

Working at Internet Marketing, Inc., we deal with websites all the time, although many of us are not web designers and web developers, but also many of us have experience in using Adobe Photoshop CS6 or any of the older versions (before any of the Photoshop CS1 to Photoshop CS6 versions, there was also Photoshop 1 to Photoshop 7, my first experience with Photoshop was Photoshop 3.0 running on Windows 3.1.). My full-time job since 1998 to 2006 was a web designer/web developer before I moved more into SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and now not having a designer position, do I really need Photoshop? Well I still make client presentations, internal company presentations, sales presentations, and presentations in my speaking engagements. And I would need Photoshop also for the images I use, the templates I make before adding them into my PowerPoint file. But this software can be pricey and if you give all employees Photoshop, that can be a bit expensive sometimes.

What can you use to edit photos/images without using Photoshop?

There are many Adobe Photoshop alternatives, and if you are not in a position that does not have Photoshop installed by default, most probably you are not a designer. And the task you do are minor photo and image manipulations. If you search online for Photoshop Alternatives, may results may appear, a compiled list of opensource softwares, but not many blog post will have personal working experience on the software and insights what would be great to use. Below are some of my personal favorites and I have taken out other opensource or free graphic software that may just be redundant or difficult to use.

Krita – Full Power Image Editing like Photoshop for Windows and Linux

Krita - Image/Photo Editor User Interface

Krita – Image/Photo Editor User Interface

My experience with Krita was with earlier versions, and during the time I installed Krita, I also installed GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), another Photoshop alternative. Both are powerful and I think GIMP even existed for a longer time. The reason why I went for Krita was because of the interface, it looks so familiar to Adobe Photoshop and the adjustment didn’t seem like a large hurdle. Why GIMP, although capable of doing almost anything that Photoshop does, it felt like a new relearning process since things were in different places, and I had to be familiar once again to the menus and tool icons there. But to GIMP’s credit, I didn’t even spend more than 2 days digging deeper into GIMP. The moment I saw it was in a different layout, I went with Krita so I am up and going again with minimal work downtime in learning.

I haven’t used the latest Krita lately, but just by looking at the screenshots on the website, interesting enough, their interface is no longer the default gray, it is in a darker hue similar also to the latest Adobe Photoshop CS6. So it really looks like they are making the interface as familiar as possible to Photoshop users.

Splashup – Web-Based Photo Editing / Image Manipulation Tool

Since this is web-based, you do not need to install anything! You need to be connected to the Internet though. But that alone in itself has many advantages, no need to use your own computer, you can use any computer. You even save up on diskspace on your own computer. Below is a screenshot of the interface and just opened up an existing image I got on Facebook.

Splashup Image Editor User Interface

Splashup Image Editor User Interface

Photoshop Express used to be a good web-based tool also, but Adobe phased it out for the PCs, instead they used the technology to create the Photoshop Express Apps that is available for both the Apple iOS and Android phones. These are not super powerful, but they have some basic rotating, cropping, brightness and contrast, hue and saturation. Ever since Photoshop Express browser-based tool disappeared, I became a Splashup fan that has a very intuitive user interface especially if you are a current Photoshop user.

Just basic cropping, rotating, resizing, brightness, contrast, hue, saturation

If you are doing something real basic and is not even concerned with layers, masking, filters and all that stuff and just wants to do the basics, there are also small programs for that. Does not use much resources on your computer. And for some of you may have not realized it, but you already have it installed on your computer.

Mac Preview

For the Mac, it would be Preview. Preview is installed on any Mac as part of the MacOS. Lifehacker has a good intro on preview here, and AppleVie.ws also has some more Preview tips here. Most people may be aware of Preview already mainly for converting files to PDFs, but to everyone may know about it’s image editing capability.

IrfanView for Windows

For Windows, I have been using IrfanView for a very long time, since the first time I used the Internet at home in 1997 what I downloaded from Windows95.com. (Windows95.com later on became WinFiles.com, then Download.com and was purchased by CNet.) I initially installed this as a viewer of almost any image file format invented. And runs very fast. For simply cropping, resizing, rotating, brightness, contrast, saturation edits, I use this instead of opening up Photoshop which on slow computers can even take a while to open.

Basic photo retouching on Windows

If you need to do some retouches, Picasa has a lot of tools that fits your needs and can easily upload your photos to your social media accounts. Picasa was purchased by Google several years back so today, the software, after uploading to the picasa cloud, it is seamlessly integrated to Google+.

This post was written by:

- who has written 146 posts on action online.

Started a career as a chemist. Worked in the industry and academe and pursued a master's degree in chemistry. Then one day, here I go, start a computer shop, then web company in 1999, won a few awards and just started a web career working on websites of various companies and making sure the websites work for them.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Lopez Says:

    I used Gimp for a long time when I was on Windows and Linux. Too bad there’s no native version of Gimp for Mac. The good news is that there’s Pixelmator. It’s a paid app but way cheaper than Photoshop.

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